Kaiser Health News, August 19, 2014

One of the hopes embedded in the health law was to expand the role of nurse practitioners and physician assistants in addressing the nation's shortage of primary care providers. But a new study questions whether that's actually happening in doctors' offices. Of the more than 4 million procedures office-based nurse practitioners and physician assistants independently billed more than 5,000 times in a year to Medicare – a list including radiological exams, setting casts and injecting anesthetic agents – more than half were for dermatological surgeries. That's not surprising, according to Ken Miller, president of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, because when patients are older, skin problems such as "boils, skin tags and warts" are pretty typical.

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